10Nightly Business Report
KQEH (PBS) (KQED Plus)
defense, medicare payments to doctors will be slashed by $65 billion. add it all up and you are talking about cutting roughly half a trillion dollars from the federal budget. the congressional budget office and others warn going over the cliff will send the economy into a recession in the first half of next year. it was congress and the white house that set the deadline in hopes of forcing each other to cut the federal budget deficit and begin to address the growing national debt. of the half trillion dollars the fiscal cliff is designed to cut in red ink next year, 80% of it comes in the form of higher taxes. under current law, 20% comes from lowering government spending. this is just the first step as part of a $7 trillion effort to cut the debt over the next decade. that has led some to describe what could be coming as a fiscal slope, not a cliff. whatever geological description you prefer, it is on the map for every american. >> susie: a critical issue in this fiscal cliff debate: jobs. if the government cuts spending and raises taxes all at once on january 1, the economy wi
avoid the fiscal cliff will slice away aone of the nation's most popular programs. >> medicare is clearly in the gunsights. >> reporter: it's possible congress and the president could agree to save $300 to $400 billion from medicare by cutting fees for doctors and hospitals. but analysts worry slashing payments won't make the health care system more efficient. >> this is not really a way to structurally change medicare and if you don't change the underlying incentives, you don't get long-term savings. >> reporter: progressives at the center for american progress say the government could save close to $150 billion by squeezing the prices the government pays for drugs. but many of the president's allies reject the idea of aggressively raising co-payments for patients. and they also consider benefits based on a patient's financial situation a risky idea. >> if people want to ask the wealthy to pay more, the time to ask them to pay more is when they can afford it, which is to say when they are working, not when they are retired. so they way to do that is to ask them to pay a little bi
like social security and medicare should be on the table right now or not, and the disagreement is sharpest over social security. darren gersh takes a look at why. >> reporter: the number-two man in the senate democratic leadership argues any fix for social security's finances should come after the immediate challenge is out of the way. >> i think we should take social security off the table for the current fiscal cliff and deficit discussion, but be very honest about what we're going to achieve in the near term. >> reporter: republicans pushed back, arguing social security is part of the deficit problem because it is no longer taking in enough in taxes to cover the benefits it pays out. social security makes up the difference by cashing in special treasury bonds it holds in its trust fund. but conservatives point out the money to redeem those bonds comes from taxpayers. >> it is money that is coming out of general revenue that is going into social security that reduces the amount of revenue that is available for everything from aircraft carriers and roads to environmental issues.
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